Books with school-related themes and settings are a natural choice for read-aloud sessions during the first weeks of school. These school stories all have a touch of humor or zaniness to them. Whether you read them during circle time to get kids excited about school or after recess to calm kids down, the stories are sure to have your new students laughing and ready to launch into the school year ahead.

Grades K–2

If You Take a Mouse to School by Laura Numeroff
"If you take a mouse to school, he'll ask you for your lunch box. When you give him your lunch box, he'll want a sandwich to go with it. Then he'll need a notebook and some pencils. . . . " With its familiar banter, this first-day-of-school twist on the delightful series continues to charm young readers. Available in English and Spanish.


It's Time for School, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt
A young boy doesn't want to go to school so he tries to stall by asking absurd questions like "What if a spaceship lands on the playground?" and "What if the principal turns me into a werewolf?" Mom answers them all with patience and reassurance, with a little silliness thrown in.

Amelia Bedelia Goes Back to School by Herman Parish
When Miss Wilson asks students to take their seats, Amelia Bedelia lifts hers up and asks, "Where should I take my seat? Should I take it to the playground?" Amelia Bedelia's literal interpretation of everything creates classroom confusion and chuckles.

 Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary
Ramona Quimby is as excited as a kid can be about her first day of kindergarten. Finally, she'll learn to read, write, and catch up to her big sister, Beezus. Unfortunately, the day doesn't go quite as smoothly as Ramona expects, starting with her inability to rest during rest time. For first graders, Ramona the Brave takes place a year later when Ramona is 6 years old.

Grades 3–5

 Sideways Stories From Wayside School by Louis Sachar
Get to know the unusual students in the classroom atop the 30-story Wayside School. There's a mean teacher who turns kids into apples and a "terribly nice teacher" who's "terribly nervous" around kids. Everyone's favorite teacher is Louis the Yard Teacher, a character the renowned children's author based on himself.


 Frindle by Andrew Clements
Troublemaker Nick Allen tries to trick his strict teacher into going off-topic on the first day of school. She doesn't fall for it and ends up assigning him a research paper about the origins of words in the dictionary. Nick decides to invent a new synonym for pen — frindle. His classmates love it; his teacher doesn't, but somehow the new word catches on all over the country!


 Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon by Paula Danziger
This first book in the Amber Brown series begins with the high-spirited 3rd grader taking a trip to China on an imaginary plane in her classroom. But fun and learning at school take place alongside changes at home — her parents are divorcing and her best friend is moving away. Extend learning with the Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon Extension Activities.


 Tripping Over the Lunch Lady and Other School Stories edited by Nancy Mercado
Most of the short stories in this collection take a humorous look at the ups and downs of day-to-day life at school. There are also photos and personal flashbacks from the ten featured authors, who include Avi, Angela Johnson, David Lubar, James Proimos, David Rice, Susan Shreve, Terry Trueman, Rachel Vail, Lee Wardlaw, and Sarah Weeks.